October 10, 2012
We live in a day and age where we are almost always accessible to the world. Many seniors choose to delay their full retirement and continue to work 40 or more hours a week. They have meetings to attend, visits with their adult children or grandchildren, errands to run, meals to cook, doctor visits to go to, etc. They enjoy a busy, fulfilling life. But where does excercise fit in?
Have you noticed the cultural shift that recognizes that being fit and healthy is something incredibly important because of the vast health benefits? It’s no longer just a hobby for some. Finding time to make exercise an integral part of our busy lives can be challenging.
The American College of Sports Medicine, the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world, has physical activity guidelines that it updates periodically describing how to improve ones physical health through exercise. Current recommendations encourage at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity, either cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, or both 3-5 days a week for a healthy adult.
Let’s talk about some ideas that may help us incorporate exercise into our lives. These are just some tips and not a comprehensive list:
- One of the best things you can do is sit down and really think about what it is you want to accomplish. Weight loss, strength, endurance, activity specific exercises; whatever you can think of that will dictate your plan of action.
- Pull out a calendar. Once you have done this, look at that calendar and find time blocks for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most if not all days of the week. Try to plan at least a week ahead. This scheduling helps you develop a routine and be able to stick with it. Make those times for your exercise routine yours and no one else’s. Be selfish about these time blocks. If you struggle to make exercise a habit, seeing a time and day can serve as a motivational cue. You see it and then do it, don’t give yourself any excuses. Maybe now would be a good time also to reprioritize how you spend your time. If you are worried about making time for your family, think about some activities that can involve them.
- If you are unsure where to start, talk with a reputable exercise professional, preferably an exercise physiologist. Residents at Bethany Village are always welcome to meet with me to set up an exercise routine in the fitness center that can also include walking inside or outside on campus. The Life Trails fitness stations on campus are also an enjoyable way to get variety in your exercise routine.
- Break up your routine: ACSM recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most if not all days of the week. No one ever said that those 30 minutes had to be all at once! It is okay to do 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there and then 10 minutes somewhere else. If reluctant to start an exercise program, this may be the way to go so that you develop adherence to working out. Your routine is what you make of it. So small amounts of time may make your life a bit easier.
- Find a friend or group that can meet on a consistent time and day of the week. Finding time and adhering to that time sometimes comes from peer motivation.
Honestly, when you make exercising a priority in your life, it is easier to find the time. It is okay to miss a day here and there. What’s not okay is making excuses why you can’t exercise; you are only sabotaging your own health. Making it a point – a conscious effort – to exercise and stay healthy is the best thing you can do. It’s your responsibility to take care of your body so you can have a long, healthy and functionally fit life. Got time for exercise? You bet you do!
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